Cricket constantly changes characters and characteristics. Yuvraj Singh was India's batting powerhouse till some time ago and now, even though he disagrees, the team is also carrying him for his services as a spinner. Sounds strange, but that's how it is, given his lean run with the bat.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni was peppered with questions on Yuvraj's poor form after Wednesday's practice match against New Zealand in Chennai. And apart from reminding everybody of Yuvraj's destructive qualities with the bat, the skipper insisted that in the present setup, the bowler in him is equally important.
"Since we play with four specialist bowlers, Yuvraj's ability to spin the ball away from right-handers makes him an asset for us and gives him an edge over others. It's a big advantage that he has. And in our scheme of things, part-time spinners are always going to play an important role."
A few days ago, asked whether he was enjoying his new role as specialist spinner, Yuvraj had said: "I'm just a part-timer. The day I start thinking that I'm a specialist spinner, I'll start getting hit."
Dhoni was in a similar situation three years ago in Australia when Yuvraj was not in good nick in the tri-series. Even though his spin wasn't used as extensively then, the captain's stand had been similar.
Reminded of that, Dhoni explained, "We all know what a talent he is. And as team members, we always back each other. We try to keep the 15 intact because the core of the side needs to be tight and together. The problem with him is he is not getting a start. But I don't mind a player like him not being among the runs as long the others are in good nick."
Then came the punch line. "Yuvraj is a big match player. When he gets going, he finishes a match. There are instances of him finishing a whole series. He has got plenty of experience, and in Indian conditions, he is a big player."
One trait of good captains is to identify the true ability of a player and back him when he is down. Yuvraj was similarly supported by Sourav Ganguly. How he responds to it this time will be followed by more than a billion fans.